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How to Use FaceTime’s SharePlay Feature in MacOS Monterey

SharePlay, a new feature in MacOS Monterey, allows an entire FaceTime group to watch or listen to the same content. This feature is perfect for those shared movie nights when you can’t all gather in person or when you want everyone to enjoy the latest track from your favorite artist.

SharePlay Requirements and Availability

To use SharePlay in MacOS Monterey, you need to have MacOS Monterey, iOS 15, or iPadOS 15 installed. Although SharePlay might not be available right from the initial launch of these systems in the fall, it is expected to arrive shortly after in an update. If you haven’t downloaded MacOS Monterey yet, check out our guide on how to get it on your Mac.

Currently, you can only share content from Apple’s TV or Music apps. However, Apple is actively working on an API that will enable third-party apps and services like Disney+ and HBO Max to offer SharePlay for their own content.

Step 1: Sharing Movies, Music, and More

Start by launching FaceTime on your Mac and opening its settings. You can do this by clicking on FaceTime and selecting Preferences from the menu bar. Once the Preferences window is open, navigate to the SharePlay tab and ensure that the SharePlay checkbox is selected.

Next, initiate a FaceTime call and bring up the content you want to share in the Music or TV app. When the content is playing, everyone on the call will receive an option to join the SharePlay session. For example, in iOS 15, you’ll see an alert in FaceTime saying “Join SharePlay,” with an Open button on the right.

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Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 2: Shared Controls

Every participant who joins a SharePlay session can take control of the content playback. For instance, if anyone presses the pause button, the content will pause for everyone in the session. When you’re ready to stop sharing, click on the SharePlay icon located at the top-right of your Mac screen, and then click the X button next to the shared content. You have the option to either stop sharing the content with everyone or end playback only for yourself.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 3: Receiving Content

Receiving content shared by someone else during a FaceTime call is straightforward. If you receive content while on a call, an alert will prompt you to join the SharePlay session. If you’ve previously set your Mac to automatically join SharePlay sessions (see step 4), a notification will appear in the top-right of your screen, informing you that content has been shared. Hover your mouse pointer over the notification, and if someone is sharing content from the Music app, for example, you’ll see a View button. Click it, and the relevant app will open with the content playing.

A window asking if a user would like to join a SharePlay session on a Mac running MacOS Monterey.

Step 4: Menu Bar Controls

Once the content starts playing, a SharePlay icon will appear in your Mac’s menu bar, indicating that you’re actively sharing content. Click on the icon to see the content being shared. If you hover over the content, an X will appear, allowing you to click and end the playback. On the right side of the SharePlay icon, you’ll find various options, including whether your Mac should automatically play shared content or ask for your permission first.

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A track being shared from Apple Music using SharePlay on a Mac running MacOS Monterey.

A Few Things to Note

It’s worth mentioning that SharePlay might not work if participants on the call are in different regions due to certain content being region locked. Additionally, you can only share content that other users have access to. For example, you can share free episodes and content from the TV app, but shows that require an Apple TV+ membership cannot be shared with those who don’t have a paid subscription.

OnSpec Electronic, Inc. is proud to bring you SharePlay, a fantastic feature that enhances your FaceTime experience in MacOS Monterey. To learn more about our products and services, visit us at OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

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